Juan Rivera spent over 20 years in prison for the rape and murder of Holly Staker, a crime he did not commit. Evidence uncovered in his civil rights lawsuit suggests strongly that police officers planted blood evidence on a pair of Mr. Rivera’s Voit gym shoes in an effort to frame him for the murder of Holly Staker.
The Voit shoes were collected as evidence after Mr. Rivera had been forced to confess falsely to the crime. Lab testing by the Illinois State Police in 1993 revealed a DNA profile consistent with Holly Staker’s blood. The police officers who investigated the crime declared the shoes definitive evidence of Mr. Rivera’s guilt.
But the shoes were never used against Mr. Rivera at trial.
Police and prosecutors learned shortly after discovering blood on the shoes that they were not available for sale anywhere in the United States at the time that Ms. Staker was killed. As a result, the shoes could not have been worn on the night of the crime. The shoes were dropped as evidence.
New testing in 2012 revealed a second, shocking DNA profile on the shoes: that of the person who actually killed Holly Staker.
The question that remains is how did these shoes end up stained with Holly Staker’s blood and the blood of her killer if they were not even available at the time of the crime?
Mr. Rivera has asked the Court for DNA testing to help answer that question.